Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has finally received the multiplayer mode the community has been begging to play, one that takes away all of the Specialists’ toys. The March 26 update on PlayStation 4 adds big changes to League Play and more Specialist weapons to Blackout; also, the “Ancient Evil” Zombies map is now available for Black Ops Pass holders. Most of the hype has circled around the “Barebones” multiplayer mode.
Barebones transforms Black Ops 4’s multiplayer into an almost classic Call of Duty experience, putting class restrictions on Specialists’ abilities and equipment. Gear is also nixed, so that removes pesky body armor and acoustic sensors from the playing field.
In standard multiplayer, Black Ops 4 makes you pick between your Specialist’s signature equipment or the standard variety. I prefer the former, which means I strategically pick my Specialist depending on the map and game mode I’m playing so that I can always make use of their specific talents. With Specialist equipment restricted in Barebones, you can only equip standard throwables such as frag grenades, concussions, or Molotovs. I can’t remember the last time I threw a standard frag grenade in multiplayer, but it feels pretty great.
Barebones still allows the sliding movement and the Stim-shot healing system, but other than those minor differences, this still feels like classic Call of Duty multiplayer. The Specialist you choose is merely a cosmetic skin. Now I can choose to be Battery every game without feeling like a selfish teammate.
I haven’t really been a fan of Specialists since the addition in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, but sometimes I enjoy the chaotic nature of multiplayer with cluster grenade explosions and attack dogs. The Specialists’ talents bring unpredictable nature to spice up the gameplay, but every player has probably experienced how frustrating it can be with Torque’s barricades and wire slowing you down, Ajax chasing you with his annoying shield, and Zero ruining all your killstreaks with her Icepick hacking device. Now you can choose whether you’re in the mood to deal with the Specialists’ shenanigans or if you’d prefer to just go old-school.
Barebones is available in both core and hardcore playlists as a moshpit of Team Deathmatch and Domination modes. Xbox One and PC players will get to enjoy the new content next week. This is Black Ops multiplayer like we haven’t experienced since Black Ops 2, and I’m totally here for it.